The Big 12 was the toughest BCS conference to predict in the preseason. A compelling case could be made for at least six teams to be picked No. 1, while Texas Tech was considered a sleeper to watch.
After three weeks, not much has changed in the Big 12.
Oklahoma found a quarterback in last week’s win over Tulsa, as quarterback Blake Bell threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns. Although the competition will get tougher, Bell’s performance was a good sign for the Sooners.
Oklahoma State is off to a 3-0 start, but two of the wins came against UTSA and Lamar.
Baylor’s offense has been lethal through its first two matchups, but the competition hasn’t been elite.
Now that three weeks are in the books, let’s evaluate the Big 12 once again.
Who is the Favorite to Win the Big 12 Title After Week 3?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Oklahoma State was my preseason pick to win the Big 12, and I’m sticking with the Cowboys after three weeks. I’ve been impressed with the Oklahoma defense and quarterback Blake Bell, but I think Oklahoma State is – at least for now – still the most complete team in the Big 12. The Cowboys have a favorable schedule, as Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State and TCU must visit Stillwater. And Oklahoma State’s road game at Texas doesn’t look as imposing as it did in the preseason. Quarterback J.W. Walsh is only going to get better with more snaps, and the Cowboys’ defense has allowed just five touchdowns through three games. I don’t see any Big 12 team finishing conference play unbeaten, but Oklahoma State has the most favorable path to the league championship.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The state of Oklahoma and Baylor appear to have separated themselves as the teams to beat in the Big 12 — as much as that is possible before conference play begins in earnest. The round robin between the trio sends Oklahoma to play both in Waco and Stillwater while the Cowboys get both the Sooners and Bears at home. That said, I am taking the Sooners. Blake Bell quieted the doubters with a huge performance in his first career start, but it's the improved defense that will make OU the team to beat. Through three games, Bob Stoops' defense is allowing more than 100 yards less per game this year (291.3 ypg) than it did a year ago (399.5) and is playing with an attitude not seen in Norman in years. Baylor's offense is extremely impressive, but I don't think it can beat both Oklahoma schools so that likely leaves The Bedlam Series to decide the Big 12. And while the Pokes rolled the Crimson and Cream the last time they played in Stillwater (44-10), Oklahoma still owns this series. It has won nine of the last 10 overall and four of the last five in Boone Pickens Stadium. Either way, it should be an outstanding final weekend in the Big 12.
I'm still sticking with Oklahoma State, but I think Oklahoma has narrowed the gap and could end up snatching the title away from their in-state rivals. The interesting thing to me is how the Big 12 race has already been shaped by the quarterback position. The Cowboys have settled on J.W. Walsh as their starter, while Blake Bell made huge strides of his own in his first career start Saturday against Tulsa. There's also the early season numbers Texas Tech's Baker Mayfield and Baylor's Bryce Petty have posted.
I liked TCU's chances of hanging around at the start of the season, but that was because of Casey Pachall's return to the lineup. Pachall was inconsistent at best when we was on the field, before suffering a forearm injury that will sideline him several more weeks. The Horned Frogs will be fine with Trevone Boykin leading the offense, I just think this team has taken a few steps back from the Oklahoma schools. In the end, I think the conference title will be decided on the last game of the regular season when the Sooners pay a visit to Stillwater to face the Cowboys. As I stated earlier, I like OSU's chances to win the Big 12, but if Bell continues to develop as a passer, the Sooners' perceived edge in the running game and on defense could be enough for Bob Stoops to claim another conference crown. We will find out a lot more about the Sooners' title aspirations in two Saturdays when they travel to South Bend, Ind., to play Notre Dame.
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